The CREC’s sandy foundations

As many victims are now speaking out against the CREC’s cult of silence, some are beginning to make connections between the abuse of women and the theology of the CREC.  That’s a good start, but many of these people do not have all the theological awareness to capitalize on it.  Bless them, I hope they continue but I don’t think they can go deep enough.

I am not going to analyze the CREC’s gloss of Scripture to support their notorious view of patriarchy, as seen in the picture below


Rather, I am going to examine the shaky foundations upon which the theology is built.  I spent a few weeks on Facebook asking whether Wilson was formally ordained.  Formally, no.  As best I can tell from his autobiography he found himself promoted from guitar player to preacher.  I suppose there was some sort of common-law de facto ordination, but nothing by a formal and recognized church court.

That means Wilson–by most anybody’s understanding–is not really a clergyman.  He’s laity.  This has nothing to do with whether the CREC is a valid denomination or not.  Even if it isn’t, later ministers of the CREC go through the motions of ordination prior to their ministerial career.  It appears Wilson didn’t even do that.

But that’s not my critique today, however glaring and interesting it might be.  Around two years ago Leithart came out with his “End of Protestantism” proposal.  Unsurprisingly, most didn’t quite get what he was saying.  He argued that Protestantism doesn’t have a future in the sense that it can not exist and yet remain parasitic upon deficient forms of Christianity.  And he’s right–at least on that point.  Dialectics and negation do not make for a healthy Christianity.

The problem is how Leithart tried to put it in practice.  In order to heal the divisions of Christendom was everyone supposed to rally behind Leithart’s proposal?  Geneva (or more likely, Westminster Philly), Rome, and Holy Russia simply scoffed. Leithart was proposing a lowest-common denomination with no one agreeing on the denominators.

Practically speaking, and I know this from numerous conversations, Leithart and the CREC condemn converts to Eastern Orthodoxy as “idolaters” and “heretics” all the while pleading for us to accept EO as fellow Christians.   We can show how problematic this is with a number of questions:

  1. Would you call Fr John Meyendorff and Metropolitan Zizioulas heretics and idolaters?
  2. Assuming yes to (1), how can you promote their works?
  3. Given what you say about (2), how can you in good conscience promote Schmemann from the pulpit?
  4. Can you really act surprised after negating Reformed theology that some of your parishoniers take you up on it and “convert”?

Shucks, I even like the irascible Lossky.


2 comments on “The CREC’s sandy foundations

  1. Cal says:

    I’ve always been a little taken aback that Leithart says and does all that he says and does and yet is still an ordained minister in the PCA. I know the Stellman debacle/witch-hunt (and his subsequent move to Rome) caused all sorts of confusion. While the PCA is dominated by a loud minority of Westminster East loyalists (despite the school’s ‘fundie’ spiral into a pristine Van Til orthodoxy and beggarly attitude to donors), it is filled by the silent, ‘don’t ask-don’t tell’ majority.

    Despite Leithart claiming (and it may be true) that he adheres to Wesminster standards, when was the last time he wrote a blog or a book praising those divines? Leithart is a shifting figure, and especially with the continuing flopping of Biola’s lecture due to Leithart’s article, and his continued presence, if a lot of what he does is to become an influential personality.

    Despite me reading and enjoying a lot of what he has to say, I’m always curious of what kind of foundations his thinking relies on. Mercersburg? A certain christianized, right Hegelianism? At one moment he sounds irenic, the next he’s forceful and vicious. Orthodox are brothers and heretics. Evangelicals are allies and yet unsacramental heathens.

    Is he, in all of his talks and thoughts, really over zealously embracing the dialectic? His novel typology of Israel & Judah representing church divisions may reveal that he is indeed the cleverest dialectician of them all.


    PS. I thought you were done being critical? 🙂


    • JB Aitken says:

      The PCA can’t touch Leithart because that will only open the door for how many PCA ministers reject the Confession’s teaching on the Lord’s Day and Second Commandment.

      I’m done being critical of EO. When the CREC covers up pedophiles and intimidates the victims, they are fair game.


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